She Wants What?! Advice On How To Manage Her Wedding Expectations

Pick your battles – a happy wife = a happy life.

Peter Iantorno May 21, 2015

Planning your wedding is a stressful time, which is made infinitely worse by the outrageous expectations that some brides-to-be have. With the wedding dress, the ring, the venue and all manner of other expenses to think about, your wedding budget is nigh-on certain to get blown out of the water.

While we don’t profess to be able to keep your wedding under budget – seriously, we’re good but we can’t perform miracles – there are a few clever tactics you can employ to manage you partner’s wedding expectations and keep the damage to a minimum:

The ring
Some people – hopefully not your other half, or you’re in a trouble – say that you should spend three months’ salary on an engagement ring, and here at EDGAR, quite frankly, we think that is nothing short of insanity. A quarter of your yearly earnings on some South African blood diamond she’ll most likely one day lose down the sink? You’ve got to be joking.

And anyway, the only reason the whole salary-based concept came about was because of an advertising campaign from, you guessed it, a jewellers! It started in the 1930s, when De Beers launched a campaign suggesting that men should spend one month’s salary on a diamond engagement ring. Of course, this figure was simply plucked out of the air, and it was shown to have no real importance by the fact that during the 1980s, De Beers suddenly decided to up the recommended spend to two months. And now, many sources say three.

Of course, although we know that the three-month rule is ridiculous, the major problem is that your soon-to-be wife might not see it in the same way, and she could very well be expecting a diamond the size of a golf ball to be presented to her when you get down on one knee. So, what are you options?

Well, first, if you really can’t stand the aggravation and are in the mood to spend big, then, fine, go for it – but don’t come crying to us when the divorce papers come through within a year and the diamond ring you worked your fingers to the bone for has done a disappearing act from her listed assets.

The second option is to broach the subject, craftily slipping into normal conversation how “De Beers started this crazy engagement ring salary myth and now every sucker is getting drawn into it”. However, this takes time, consideration and a level of tact that very few possess – and there’s no guarantee she’ll go for it.

Finally, and the option we would recommend, you need to think a little outside the box. So, she’s expecting a massive rock that looks like it has cost you an arm and a leg, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend big.

There are man-made diamonds nowadays that are just as stunning as the real-deal yet a fraction of the price, and some places in Dubai’s Gold and Diamond Park can make diamond rings that look awfully similar to some of the top jewellers’ in the world… We’re not saying get her some tacky cubic zirconia, but be a bit more creative and you’ll save yourself a fortune.

The guests
Compiling a wedding guest list is a task that even the wiliest of politicians would struggle with, and there will no doubt be some people that cause problems, or that you disagree with the bride about if they should be invited. Maybe you get on great with the mother-in-law’s new boyfriend, but put him in the same room as the father of bride and there’ll be a punch-up; and as for that guy who has been calling himself your “uncle” since you were a child but is actually no relation – the one who has been staring at your fiancée’s chest from the moment you introduced him – well, the less said about him the better.

The most important thing to remember about wedding guests is that everyone who comes to your wedding will be there because they want to wish you and your new wife well, and any differences or awkwardness they have can be put aside, at least just for your big day. That said, it’s always best not to take the risk, so put the mother-in-law’s boyfriend on a separate side of the room to the father, and assign one of your groomsmen to keep an eye on that dodgy “uncle”.

The dress
We hate to be the bringers of bad new here, gents, but unfortunately, your wife-to-be’s wedding dress is an expense that falls way out of your jurisdiction. Unless you want the marriage to be over before it has even begun, we strongly suggest that you butt out and let whatever is going to happen, happen.

While it might pain you to see the joint account taking a battering for a garment that will only ever be worn once before being consigned to storage at the back of a wardrobe for the rest of its days – or, worse still, destroyed in one of those galling ‘trash the dress’ photo shoots that just rubs the wasted money in your face yet further – there are certain things that are simply none of your business, and this is very much one of them. So place that high-street catalogue in the waste paper bin and slowly back out of the room, making no sudden movements.

The wedding planner
We’re not sure quite how the phenomenon of the wedding planner came about, but for some reason, increasingly women are employing the help of professional wedding planners, whose job it is to poke their nose into your business and generally press-gang you into making the kind of decisions that could cripple your finances.

To be fair, hiring a wedding planner could go one of two ways. There is a chance that the planner will come in and organise the whole process from bottom to top, sorting out all the boring stuff and leaving you and your partner with loads of time to enjoy the fun parts of planning a wedding.

However, there is also a distinct possibility that the wedding planner will fill your woman’s head with extravagant ideas, encouraging her to “blow the budget” for a special event that “only comes around once in a lifetime”, and if you pose any opposition you will be quickly and callously shouted down by the two-headed beast your fiancée and the wedding planner have become.

So, in short, if you get a wedding planner you’re playing dice with the devil. But how do you discourage her from getting one? We find the softly, softly approach works best here. Explain that you want to be as involved as possible in the process and you think it should be kept between the two of you. Managing the expectations of one person is hard enough, so the last thing you want is another to worry about.